The Mouth of a Sailor: Phrases Coined by Seamen

Language is strange. We reiterate certain phrases and words time and time again, without ever knowing where they came from or what they once meant. This is natural. Language changes over time and phrases and words morph into things very much unlike what they were expected to mean. That’

s why uncovering the origins of some words is so fascinating. These are some of the most interesting phrases that actually came from a super-specific domain: Sailing.

Feeling Blue

Gettyimages/ Zhang Zhen/ Moments

Melancholy can be such a sweet thing. Historically, some of the most commonplace phrases to express such feelings of sadness have been the timeless ‘feeling blue’ and ‘getting the blues’. Needless to say that the phrase took off so much that there’s an entire genre of heartfelt, somber music named after it. Yet, what is less known is that the phrase stems from marine-lingo. Returning ships that lost their captain mid-voyage, the crew would raise blue flags and paint the hull in blue as they docked in their home port.

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